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Official Review [Album]: "CARPENTERS" S/T (SP-3502)

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Chris May, Mar 8, 2013.


  1. ***** (BEST)

    18 vote(s)
  2. ****

    31 vote(s)
  3. ***

    7 vote(s)
  4. **

    1 vote(s)
  5. *

    1 vote(s)
  1. David A

    David A Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure to what extent marketing and promo materials about a band, would/should matter. A music critic should care only about the music he is (allegedly) reviewing, not promo marketing materials.

    Perhaps it would make it easier for the critic to make assumptions without actually listening; in which case, they aren't much of a critic.
  2. David A

    David A Well-Known Member

    Some people - I know a couple personally - go to music for reasons that are quite different from mine (and perhaps yours). They view music as an art form and a social platform; music that is innovative, creative (as they see it), introspective, socially relevant. They appreciate artists who "take chances" or innovate musically. Lyrics often mean a lot to these folks; is the artist expressing something that is profound, intense, or at least unique? Is the song "deep" emotionally or express opinions about complex social/political/ issues? Does the song take musical "risks" outside the traditional chords and rhythms that permeate pop music?

    For me, music is a form of entertainment. Of course it's an art form; but just as "commercial art" is different than "fine art" - and created for completely different purposes - pop music tends to be for entertainment purposes - to make people feel good (or sad) and sing (or dance) along. It can be much more than that; but generally speaking, in my view that's why critics take cheap shots in general, toward pop music. It is a fact that most pop music relies on very similar song architecture; Richard talks about this actually, in a video seen for the 1978 "Thank You Rock & Roll". "Same 4 chords", et al.

    Some pop music is very creative and pushes some boundaries, but that's not common. Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" comes to mind. A smash hit on pop and rock stations yet clearly different than your standard pop fare.

    I like music that moves me, period. I like songs by U2; I like songs by Bruce Springsteen; I like songs by the Goo Goo Dolls, songs by Peter Gabriel, rock bands like Def Leppard and Van Halen (especially on road-trips :wink: ), many others. I also like the Carpenters, ABBA, and some other critically ignored pop bands.

    Karen's singing moves me like no other female singer ever has, and Richard surrounds her voice with often masterful music (especially, in my view, the first half of the 70's). Within the "confines" of pop music, Richard was often creative in his song architecture, as well. All of this, is what the critics miss about the Carpenters.
    John Adam and CraigGA like this.
  3. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    I enjoy your perspective, but most of the groups other than the Carpenters that you mention make me yawn. There has to be an emotional conception to attract listeners so that anything can be examined and as you find them creative, and in their own right they are. But I find them boring which makes it hard for listening to even hear any art. Even possibly, with a different singer whose voice I enjoy might interest me in a second look. For example, I enjoy Dylan songs as long as he is not singing them, yet for someone else, his vocalization could form a type of worship experience as most do with Bruce Springsteen. I understand I’m in the minority but anyone can slam anyone based on likes and dislikes and a supposed cool or not cool status and find things upon examination to defend one side or the other, especially if you are a classical music snob who looks down on other forms. My point is that people don’t have objective opinions when they prefer their own taste in music. You said it exactly correct when you said that you like music that moves you! Also, your other definition of creative design categorization works for most rock music fans, although most today dont know of or like the Beatles and I consider them music pioneers. One of my favorite styles is vocal jazz for it ignites a passionate spirit within yet can easily sound like noise to others. Since I like the Carpenters I can easily relate to your last paragraph and it is even poetic in how you phrased it and those words rush feelings of warm emotions that leave me in awe in celebration of your writing ability!
    David A likes this.
  4. KentTeffeteller

    KentTeffeteller Active Member

    Things to know: This LP is for me #2 in Richard & Karen's non compilation output, only bettered by "A Song For You". #3 is Now & Then. "The Singles 1969-1973 is tied with "A Song For You" for best Carpenters LP. Music for me is an escape from physical and emotional stresses (I deal with multiple physical challenges which vastly affect all aspects of my life, and how I access and deal with my world). The Carpenters are a pleasant oasis in my life. As I am a sentimental person and "Need To Be In Love".
    Rudy likes this.
  5. David A

    David A Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the compliment :)

    I should add that although I tried to explain how I see the difference with those who view themselves as more "musically sophisticated", I forgot to mention that that fact doesn't mitigate judgmental, pretentious arrogance, nor their choice to disparage others who choose different music to enjoy, however "cleverly" they think they do it.
  6. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    It is amusing (at least in my mind) that
    For All We Know (Fred Karlin)....is one of my all-time favorites,
    Leave Yesterday Behind (Fred Karlin) is one that I can hardly listen to !

    As with:
    Rainy Days And Mondays (Paul Williams)....one of my all-time favorites,
    Rainbow Connection (Paul Williams) is one Carpenters' song that I rarely listen to !
    newvillefan likes this.
  7. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Here, I copy the album credits (from Resource) and highlight the Reeds :
    Album Credits:
    Arranged and Orchestrated by Richard Carpenter
    Engineered by Ray Gerhardt and Dick Bogert; Assistant: Norm Kinney
    All Vocals: Karen and Richard Carpenter
    Keyboards: Richard Carpenter
    Bass: Joe Osborn and Bob Messenger
    Reeds: Bob Messenger, Douglas Strawn, Jim Horn
    Drums: Hal Blaine and Karen Carpenter
    Wurlitzer Electric Piano and Ludwig Drums used
    Album Concept and Design by Craig Braun Inc.
    Jackets mfd. by Sound Packaging Corp.
    Art Direction by Roland Young
    Photography by Guy Webster
    Produced by Jack Daugherty Productions

    Tommy Morgan is credited, in the Liner Notes From The Top,
    for Rainy Days And Mondays.
    However, on the 1971 LP, not a word I could find of Tommy Morgan.
  8. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    ^^Why would that 1971 harmonica recording ever be tampered with ?
    newvillefan likes this.
  9. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    My thoughts exactly. There was simply no need. There’s no audible difference between the two other than volume.
  10. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter

    Tommy never got credit initially for playing that part. He was often associated with the famous Hollywood Wrecking Crew, and is actually credited as being the most recorded harmonicist in the history of American music.

    As a side note, none of his parts for Rainy Days were ever re-recorded - all original takes, recorded for the "Tan" album - January, 1971.
  11. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    ^^Thanks for clearing that up !
    Perhaps, his name can be added on the Resource credits ?
  12. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

  13. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    A note has been added to the song in the Resource. Sorry for any earlier misinformation.
  14. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    The lyric is incredibly weak on Leave Yesterday Behind. Even Karen can't save it. It was on the cutting-room floor for a reason.

    Agreed. Rainy Days is classic. I love Rainbow Connection as a song but Richard's production is awful and Karen doesn't care.

  15. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Well-Known Member

    I’d disagree. I think “Leave Yesterday Behind” is one of there better B-sides and a stand-out on ATGB, along with “Your Just In Love”, “The Rainbow Connection”, “California Dreaming”, “Nowhere Man” and “Dancing In The Street”.
  16. Brian

    Brian Well-Known Member

    'For All we Know' is also one of my all-time favourites. Unbeatable in almost every way, in that genre. Karen's vocal is magnificent. Her performance on the 1971 BBC concert TV show is just as good. This was the first-ever single I bought. (Actually, it was given to me, when I requested it as a birthday gift).

    I have a certain fondness for 'Leave Yesterday Behind'. Fans know what it is - an out-take that probably wouldn't have been released had Karen lived. However, for what it is, I think it's still quite enjoyable and satisfying. Karen's vocal, while not top-notch, is still warm and enchanting. There's something missing in lyric, melody and structure, but I still like the song.

    Rainy Days and Mondays is one of those songs that is other-worldly in every way. It has a life of its own up in the stratosphere somewhere. 'The Rainbow Connection', I think, has great charm, in the theme, lyrics, melody and Karen's reading. Personally, I really like this song and recording. I guess you can tell it's an out-take, so doesn't have the legendary status of a lot of other Carpenters songs, but I think it's still quite special.
  17. Brian

    Brian Well-Known Member

    By the way, in this last week, I finally came across the rare Maureen McGovern CD 'Academy Awards Performance - And the Envelope, Please'. I've had this album on record for years but the CD is hard to find. This album was a tribute to award-winning songs and was originally released in 1975. It includes a nice reading of 'For All We Know'. This is a very different take on the song from Carpenters' version. It is sung in a more sensitive style than the quite forceful approach Maureen McGovern used on songs like 'The Morning After' and 'We May Neve Love Like This Again.'

    'For All we Know' was the second Carpenters song McGovern recorded within her first three albums. She got in first with the release of 'I Won't Last a Day Without You' as a single. Her version was recorded the year after Carpenters' version but was a minor hit on the US Hot 100 the year before Karen and Richard released the song as a single.

    Incidentally, Maureen McGovern used the original key for the bridge of 'I Won't Last a Day Without You', rather than using the alteration made by Richard in his arrangement.

    Marvin Gaye and Diana Ross also recorded 'I Won't Last a Day Without You', using the original bridge. They don't appear to have released the song as a single, although they released a number of singles together.

    Countless artists recorded 'For All We Know' in the year or two following Karen and Richard, including Johnny Mathis, Shirley Bassey and Karen's friend Petula Clark. Johnny Mathis released the song as a single in 1970 and Shirley Bassey's single was released in 1971.
  18. Brian

    Brian Well-Known Member

    The artwork on the 1971 'Carpenters' album was presented differently in some countries. The photo appeared on the outer jacket with the logo in a number of territories. The envelope idea was dispensed with, so the jacket was the standard type. The same thing happened with 'Horizon'.

    For some time, I couldn't work out why some people called this 'The Tan Album', until I saw the US jacket.

    Not surprisingly, US CD releases of the album have included the tan jacket, whereas the Spectrum CD through Karussel, released in some other countries, uses the design with the large photo and logo.

    Incidentally, earlier pressings of the 'Carpenters' record in my area in the early- to mid-70s included a gold sticker with 'Gold Record Award' or similar on it.
  19. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    I remember going into a used record store and seeing the CARPENTERS album with the photo on the front was quite a surprise:


    I never bought the LP, but in later years I bought the CD hoping it would have the original mixes of particularly "Superstar". But it had the same remixes as the A&M CD in the States.
    Song4uman and Brian like this.
  20. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Well-Known Member

    A few years ago (2005) it even got a reissue in Europe with a photo from the Horizon era, although For All We Know was left off for some reason. The copyright mentions "Universal Music Opertaions Ltd." as the copyright holder, with it being put out by MCPS.

  21. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Blog Excerpts......
    "Carpenters (1971) is the first usage of the Carpenters logo.
    The art-nouveau typographic-expressionist letterforms on a cream background reinforce sentimentality and nostalgia. The absence of a photograph tells the audience that the group is now successful enough to be represented only with their logo. They are not individuals. They are now a product.
    The following album, A Song for You, continues the theme, adding a sweet Valentines red background and heart."
    "Like the Beach Boys, Olivia Newton-John, The Jackson 5, and The Osmonds, the Carpenters image was crafted to sell records as an alternative to the “dangerous and counter-cultural” element at the time. It was safe and benign. In a world of riots, Watergate, the Vietnam War, and the energy crisis, these groups provided a safe retreat."
    "As designers, we strive for a well-communicated, pure message. Our goal being to reinforce the brand and create proprietary value. Consider the Carpenters. Now some of you may be thinking, "Oh, I love them." and others, "Really, the Carpenters? Really?" But the Carpenters were packaged and branded with a clear and specific message, one that, at times, was contrary to reality."

    Much More:
    Smiley Smile: Branding the Carpenters
  22. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

  23. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    So, I get a chuckle this morn, reading Page 140 of
    The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (2004).
    The ratings for their albums are nearly opposite to my ratings for the duo's output.
    One example (imho, the reviewer is assessing through a revisionist viewpoint):
    "The B/D Medley on 1971's Carpenters album is arguably the group's most impressive moment--
    light and breezy, slightly jazzy, the work of two young idealists who are still in love with life..."
    The New Rolling Stone Album Guide
  24. adam

    adam Active Member

    Carpenters Album..Chart facts.

    Japan. 47
    UK. 11
    USA. 2
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  25. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Honolulu City Lights

    Here is a Single Promo Ad that ran in the UK for the following single
    Record Mirror
    Sept 25, 1971

    Mark-T likes this.

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